Kristin Scott Thomas on the ‘foul’ woman she’s been waiting to play

Kristin Scott Thomas has told Sky News she was so keen on her latest role that she was surprised it wasn’t offered to her immediately.

The Oscar-nominated star plays Mrs Danvers in the new adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier classic Rebecca, and says it’s a part she has been waiting to play.

Image: Lily James (right) plays the newly married Mrs de Winter, while Scott Thomas is housekeeper Mrs Danvers

“Absolutely, in fact, when I heard that it was being made, I immediately rang my agents and said I didn’t understand, they’re making Rebecca and they haven’t asked me? So I had to chase a little bit, but I got it in the end.”

In Rebecca, the newly married Mrs de Winter, played by Lily James, arrives at her husband’s home to find housekeeper Mrs Danvers is dedicated to keeping the memory of his first wife alive – no matter the cost.

The character is manipulative and cruel, and Scott Thomas revealed she did draw inspiration from some real people – “certain teachers at school, maybe the odd air hostess” – she has encountered.

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And while the actress thinks the character is interesting, she doesn’t think of her as misunderstood.

“I think she’s pretty horrible, but I think that there’s a reason for her horribleness,” Scott Thomas says.

“You can either feel sorry for her or not; I’m not courting sympathy with this role, but I think there are reasons behind it and I think the reasons are interesting.

“She’s not had the life she was expecting to have. She’s Mrs Danvers – we never hear about the husband, but I assume, as there were so many women in this case, that she’d lost her husband… in the First World War, and then had to become governess to this little girl out of necessity.”

Kristin Scott Thomas as Mrs Danvers in Rebecca. Pic: Kerry Brown/ Netflix
Image: Scott Thomas says there is a reason for her character’s ‘horribleness’

Scott Thomas says that while the gothic novel was written in 1938, it is interesting to look at how women were treated through today’s lens.

“This is not what she was born to, she was supposed to have a house like the de Winters’ house, she was supposed to have that at some point and it never happened because she lost everything when she lost the man.

“And I think that’s something that today we’re very keen on discussing and talking about – what it’s like to be a woman, what it’s like to be born female, what it’s like to be kind of ruled by men.

“I think that is an aspect of the film, aspect to the story that [director] Ben Wheatley has really kind of pointed up, so I think it’s great – modern.”

Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter and Lily James as Mrs de Winter in Rebecca. Pic: Kerry Brown/ Netflix
Image: Armie Hammer also stars alongside James

Scott Thomas, known for roles in Four Weddings And A Funeral and The English Patient, is often cast as a woman who initially seems prickly before her softer side is revealed.

While this isn’t quite the case for Mrs Danvers, the actress says that perhaps the audience will be most moved by the character at the end of the film.

“She really is frantic with grief, her whole life has been dedicated first of all to this girl, Rebecca, and then to the memory of the girl, and then it’s all taken away from her and she’s got nothing left.

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“And she is sort of left in this… she’s got no way out, really, Mrs Danvers, she’s abandoned, really, in the story.

“And I think that’s quite touching actually, perhaps the only thing that is really moving about her, because basically she’s just foul.”

Rebecca will be available on Netflix from 21 October

Source : Sky News